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More like Portsmouth …

Michael Jennings links to this, at William Gibson‘s, which Gibson heard on Sky News:

“Umm Qasr is a town similar to Southampton”, UK Defence Minister Geoff Hoon told the House of Commons yesterday. “He’s either never been to Southampton, or he’s never been to Umm Qasr”, said one British soldier, informed of this while on patrol in Umm Qasr. Another added: “There’s no beer, no prostitutes, and people are shooting at us. It’s more like Portsmouth.”

Jennings also prefers Southampton, for real ale reasons. I wouldn’t know.

I get the feeling the Brits are doing quite well out there. Is this the impression they are making in the USA? Or are our soldiers merely seen as doing menial stuff while the USA guys win the war?

39 comments to More like Portsmouth …

  • Andrew O'Brien

    Americans are also getting the distinct impression that our British and Australian allies are making valuable contributions.

  • Kane

    Nope, the Ausies and Brits as far as i’m concerned are doing very important jobs. If you look at the fighting the Brits have been in i would say they are doing very well.

  • apoweleit

    My perspective (from NYC) is that they are in fact doing quite well, functioning in a significant capacity.

  • blabla

    As an American, I get the impression that most other Americans realize that the Brits are making a substantial contribution. Anyone who has been following the war closely has at least heard the media state that the British soldiers are better at urban warfare due to dealings with the IRA. Further, at most press conferences held by Gen Franks, there is at least one British officer who also answers questions.

  • gavin

    As an American watching U.S coverage I get the distinct impression the Brits are doing a hell of a job down in Basra. It is so awesome having the U.K on our side on this thing.

  • Znaught

    My American impression of British soldiers is one of great respect, admiration and gratitude.

  • S. Weasel

    No, actually, I’d have to say the British forces are getting a higher proportion of coverage than their actual numbers might indicate. This is partly because they’ve taken on important and recognizable chunks of the mission by themselves, like securing Umm Qasr.

    But it’s largely an indication of how very grateful Americans are to the British for standing with us. It’s one of the few signs in evidence that the world hasn’t gone completely mad.

  • Will Allen

    Anyone paying attention knows that Basra represents one of the most difficult and important operations in this war, and that the U.K. military is approaching it with their typical courage and professionalism.

  • Eichra Oren

    I’ve seen no aspersions on British military performance in the media here in the States. All coverage of British and Australian troops is positive.

  • There’s been a great deal of positive coverage of the British troops. I haven’t seen any coverage of the Australian troops, though.

  • Jack Moorman

    My impression from Denver is that the British are viewed as equals and their fighting in Basra and in the South are considered extremely important. Every half-hour of TV coverage begins with a roundup of all Iraq war activity and the British are featured at least as often as Americans.

  • Brian,

    Speaking with authority only for myself, my opinion of the British contribution on the ground in Iraq is that they are an extremely essential and effective component of the operation.

    I am extremely impressed with their performance, their bravery, and their intelligence. And this American is so glad, so very glad, they are there along side our troops.

  • Anonymous

    My own impression (and I admit that I only tune in once an hour or so) is that CNN, MSNBC, Fox et al. all know that there is a British presence in Iraq; what’s interesting is that every reporter I’ve seen talk about the Americans has said: “This is Kent Blowhard, embedded with the 3/7 Marine Battalion” while the reference to British forces is nearly always to “British Forces” I wonder if this is another example of journalism’s attitude that it isn’t worth understanding which units, exactly, are doing what heroic things, or something else?

  • David Bufkin

    On the contrary, I’m getting the impression the British and allies are doing a lot of the heavy lifting at this point in the war.

    Feelings toward the U.K. have never been more positive and Tony Blair has achieved almost Churchillian reverence.

  • mike

    The australians are not mentioned as often, but I suspect that this is because they are mostly (exclusively) special ops troops who can’t be covered.

  • Lyn

    We Yanks are very grateful and have a great deal of respect and admiration for the soldiers’ work. After all, they’re right in the thick of things at Basra, a very important town strategically. The British press briefings are also a great deal more interesting to watch than ours. The Brits can insult and castigate the daylights out of those Al-Jazeera guys and make it sound so mellifluous.

  • Paolo

    As far as I can tell, the brits can do no wrong in the eyes of Americans. You guys are seen as full partners and equals. When Bush describes the Brits and Americans he uses “We”, as we are all together on this. Thanks Britain!!!

  • Simon

    It is a grate honor & plesure to be in the same team.
    Thank you, guys

  • Andrew X

    Agreed. The British presence in the South is a huge part of the the story here in the States, and not downplayed at all, I am glad to say, particularily since the South in general is so startegically significant. I’d also say that if anyone is getting short shrift, it’s the Aussies, unfortunately, whom I’d like to hear more about.

  • Cody

    Fox shows a lot of a footage of the Brit forces. You guys seem to be doing a hell of a job.

  • Many, many thanks to our British and Australian cousins. The Umm Qasr, Faw Peninsula, and Basra action is being covered very widely.
    If you like, we can start looking into the feasibility of cutting Britain loose from its moorings and towing it across the Atlantic. You can anchor off Newfoundland, if you like, but the climate around North Carolina is better. Then you can forget the EU nonsense. Damn the French anyway!

  • Jacob

    May I insert a word of small dissent in this unanimous choir ?
    We cannot tell how the British are doing. We cannot tell how the Americans are doing. We simply do not know exactly what goes on there. Information is, intentionally, scarce and vague.
    Americans feel tremendous gratitude for the British participation in this war – and this is fully justified. The British play an important role, morally and politically.
    As to the role they play militarily – we simply do not know yet.

  • John F K

    No way! In the American media the British soldiers are portrayed as equal, and their press briefings are covered fully. There is, however, something important that this war is revealing to many Americans for the first time, and something they need to know: namely the unbelievable bias of the Baldfaced Bullshitting Corporation. That is rapidly becoming a huge news story over here.

    Can you imagine how good it is to be a Brit in the USA right now? I’m trying to feel sorry for the French, but I can’t stop laughing at their arrogance and effrontery, which has become comical in the fine tradition of French farce.

    Rule Britannia!

  • Pete

    Right now the shit is ankle deep. Without the Brits help it would be knee deep right now.

    Plus the guy who took 4 rounds to the helmet is my vote for luckiest bastard of the decade.

  • John Hale

    The British are DEFINITELY receiving credit and appreciation for their valiant contribution to the war effort! On some days, the Los Angeles Times runs more photos of the Royal Marines in combat than it does of our own Marines. But then, right now, they’re ALL our own Marines!

  • richard boggs

    The Brits are doing the dirty work in Basra while the American are going to Baghdad. I thank them for the great effort. I too see more on TV of the Brits.

    Best Wishes,

  • Captain Harlock

    Though unnecessary, I want to add my voice to the chorus of huzzahs. This North Carolina boy cheers for every victory of the Desert Rats and Royal Dragoons just as much as any of our homegrown divisions. And the guy who took four rounds in his kevlar helmet . . . wow! What a great story!

  • Incomming

    The Brits are definitely viewed over here as extremely competent and tough. Glad they are on our side. I sure wish we would stop shooting them. Man, we blew away another one…

    Where are the Aussies? Bruce, Bruce and Bruce, where are you mate?

  • Americans I know consider the British and Australian contribution to be militarily important. The Brits and Aussies are building massive reserves of karma points here in the states.

  • SLS

    I’d like to echo the impressions above, with one addition. I seemed in early goings that the British were disproportionately represented in aviation accidents and friendly fire incidents. Although I didn’t see any coverage to this effect, I wondered if this was due to a lack of the “battlefield network” equipment we’re using, or possibly a lack of training with it. But this effect seems to have disappeared, and I’m now inclined to view it as a fluke.

    Warm regards from another American family to our British friends. We’ve had some wonderful times in your country, and always come home wishing with a list of things there we wish were here. I’d quite happily trade you Massachusetts for Scotland, even if we couldn’t move them. 🙂

  • Timothy Sandefur

    Every day on the news I see and hear British soldiers putting their lives on the line, and I for one am immensely grateful–not just for that, but for the magnificent and eloquent leadership of Prime Minister Blair. He may be a socialist freak, but I am extremely proud to hear him defend our shared cause, and to see “our boys” and yours fighting side by side yet again in defense of freedom and civilization. Bless you all!

  • Steve

    I can’t add anything to what the other posters have said, the Yanks are thankful for the support. God Save the Queen and Tony Blair!

    It seems like the two big prizes are Basra and Baghdad. Looks like the UK gets to take Basra while our boys head up-river. Keep up the good work, Tommies (they still call UK soldiers that, right?)!!

  • Byron

    This is partly because they’ve taken on important and recognizable chunks of the mission by themselves, like securing Umm Qasr.

    That’s not entirely true. The US Marines worked with the Royal Marines to secure Umm Qasr. I know because my first cousin is one of the US Marines that did it.

    Having said that, I also know he and his buddies are very glad to have the Brits shouldering a good portion of the load there.

    As to the role they play militarily – we simply do not know yet.

    There’s enough anecdotal evidence to give us a good idea. Like the Brits & US Marins securing Umm Qasr, the Brits & US Marines fighting at Basra, and especially the Brits’ daring raid of one of the Ba’athist HQ and taking prisoners of their high-ranking officials.

    Plus the guy who took 4 rounds to the helmet is my vote for luckiest bastard of the decade.

    I’ll cast my vote after the war’s done. It’s too early yet to gloat at fate.

    I’d quite happily trade you Massachusetts for Scotland, even if we couldn’t move them. 🙂

    Not a bad idea. Let’s take all the British Isles, and send them Massachussetts.

    I get the impression that there is a growing recognition of and grattitude for the British and Australian contributions to the effort in the US. This war hasn’t been a walkover like Gulf I, magnifying those feelings toward our allies. The Brits especially are getting a lot more press in the US than they did in Gulf I.

    Speaking for myself, I concur with all the grateful sentiments expressed above. Thanks fellas.

  • Mark

    My perception is that our British allies are doing a great job. I get the feeling they are, as always, tough, aggressive fighters, who always maintain their sense of humanity even under such ugly circumstances. Many of my personal friends have expressed such sentiments as “thank God for the British” and see them as full partners.

  • Roy Lofquist

    The Democrats are quite upset that Mr. Blair wasn’t born in the US. It looks like he’s the only person in the world who would stand a chance againt Mr. Bush. Unforunately for them, the President is required to be a native born American.

  • ruth

    Fox news also features Sky news reporters–I would say 1/3 of battlefield news covers UK. UK forces greater experience with urban fighting is noted too.

  • ruth

    Fox news also features Sky news reporters–I would say 1/3 of battlefield news covers UK. UK forces greater experience with urban fighting is noted too.

  • Troy

    I don’t think the U.K. are getting the coverage they deserve. It seems to me that the press is giving it the feel that the US is fighting the war while the U.K. forces guard the back door (Basra & Umm Qasr).

  • Steve

    Everyone I know has nothing but respect and praise for what the British and Australians are doing. You guys are kicking butt and we couldn’t do it without you.